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Alumni Columns 

Northwestern State University Magazine 



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Dr. Randall}. Webb. 
1965, 1966 

Northwestern Slate 

Dr. C.bns iV/u^'/o, 
1985. 1991 
Assistant Vice 
President of l-'.xternal 
Affairs lor University 

Dear Alumni, 

When I think back to the first time I visited the Northwestern 
State campus as a child, I remember marveling at the beauty of 
the campus. The rolling hills, stately buildings and rows of trees 
made a big impression on me. Today, the attractiveness of our 
campus makes prospective students want to be part of this special 

As president I have worked to improve campus facilities while 
whenever possible preserving historic buildings that mean so 
much to Northwestern State students and alumni. 

In a few weeks, we hope to finish the rehabilitation of Caspari 
Hall as part of an overall project to consolidate offices which serve 
students. Caspari Hall is being converted from a residence hall into 
a facility which will house offices for Northwestern State's presi- 
dent, the provost and vice president for academic and student af- 
fairs and other administrators. The project was paid for with state 
capital outlay funds. 

There are other important projects taking place on the Natchi- 
toches and Shreveport campuses that will enhance our facilities 
and save money at a time of tight budgets. 

The College of Nursing and Allied Health Education Center in 
Shreveport is getting a 1 00-car parking lot which will be a great 
convenience for students. The university is also installing new 
carpeting in the building. 

One project on the Natchitoches campus that you can't see 
is the installation of new steam lines. This project will make our 
buildings more comfortable and will produce significant savings. 

Through private donations, we have been able to upgrade some 
of our athletic facilities. The Lady Demon Softball Diamond will get 
a new grandstand as Northwestern State hosts the 201 3 South- 
land Conference Softball Tournament. Brown-Stroud Field was 
enhanced with a new infield. Under a warranty with the manu- 
facturer, the university will soon resurface the track at the Walter 
Ledet Track Complex. 

Each of these improvements is making your alma mater a better 
place for our students to receive the best possible education. 

Dear Alumni, 

As I write this, our staff is busy travelling around the region 
participating in recruiting receptions and alumni gatherings. 
Please check the back page of this magazine or click on the Events 
link at to find dates and locations for 
Alumni After Hours, where you an visit with friends and representa- 
tives from Alumni Affairs, Athletics and other areas of the universi- 
ty. These occasions will help you stay connected to NSU and learn 
about some of the great things happening on campus. 

As many of you know, former alumni director Brad Laird was 
lured by his love of coaching back to that career field and we wish 
him great success. Realignments at Northwestern State opened 
the door for me to return to work in Alumni Affairs and the NSU 
Foundation to oversee fund raising and alumni relations. Because 
external scholarship funding and recruiting have become so im- 
portant to our success as a university, I will also continue to oversee 
University Recruiting as part of my new assignment as Assistant 
Vice President of External Affairs for University Advancement. 

I am very excited about the opportunity to reconnect with 
NSU alumni and friends as well as continue to share with prospec- 
tive students and their parents what a special place Northwestern 
State is. Thank you for your encouragement to me personally and 
for your continued support of Northwestern State University. 

Alumni Columns 

Official Publication of 

Norlhweslcrn Slate University 

Natchitoches, Louisiana 

Organized in 1884 

A member of CASE 

Volume XXIII Number 1 Spring 201.1 

ITie Alumni Columns (USPS 01 .S480) is published 

by Northwestern State University. 

Natchitoches. Louisiana. 71 497-0002 

Periodicals Postage Paid at Natchitoches, La., 

and at additional mailing offices. 

POSTMASl KR: Send address changes to the 

Alumni Columns. Northwestern Stale University, 

Natchitoches, La. 71497-0002. 

Alumni Office Phone; 318-357-4414 and 888-799-6486 

FAX: 318-357-4225 • E-mail: 

President loseph B. Stamey. NalchiKKhes, 1983 

I St Vice President Tommy Chester. Natchitoches. I%9 

2nd \'ice President Charles "Buddy " Wood. .Many, 1981 

Secretary-Treasurer Malt Bailey. Shreveport, 2003 

Assistant Vice President of External Affairs for University 
Advancement Chris Maggio, Natchitoches, 1985, 1991 


.Matt Bailey Shreveport, 2003 

lorry Brungart Natchitoches, 1969. 1971 

.Monty Chicola Alexandria, 1979, 1980 

Leonard Endris Shreveport, 1974. 1975 

Ken Guidry Natchitoches, 1972 

Bobby Hebert New Orleans, 1983 

Irey Hill Carencro, 1985 

Adrian Howard Bedford, IX, 1989 

Patricia Hrapmann New Orleans. 1973, 1978 

(iail lones Natchez, 1981, 1998 

.Matt Koury I.eesville, 1995 

Angela l.asyone Natchitoches. 1986 

Bryant Lewis Haynesville, 1958 

Carroll long Longview, TX, 1970 

William I.. I.uckie Lufkin, TX. 2008 

David Morgan Austin, TX, 1973 

Kip Patrick Washington, DC. 1995 

c;iitV Poimboeuf. Shreveport. 1984 

Dcnise Que/aire Baton Rouge. 2005 

Joseph W Schelette Shreveport. 1969 

Glenn Talbert Shreveport. 1964 

Casey |o Ihompson Shreveport, 2001 

Carlos Treadway Northville. .Ml. 1992 

Marti \'ienne Natchitoches, 1982 

Ricky Walmsley Rogers, AR. 1985 

Mike Wilburn Shreveport, 1975 

Dr Ieon.ird Williams New Orleans, 1993 

Charles "Buddy" Wood Many, 1981 


Derrick Houston Xlvian 

SGA Prtrsident 

Publisher Chris Maggio. 1985. 1991 

Editor Leah Pilcher lactson, 1994, 201 1 

(^intribulors D,ivid West 

Doug Ireland. 1986 
Bill Smith 

Photography Gary llardamon 

Design/Layout Beth McPherson Mann, 1975 

Norlhwcvlcrn State Ifnivcrsily is accrrdilnl by the Commisiion on 
t Colleges ttf ihc Siiulhcrn AsMKiation of Colleges and Schools (IWi6 
Southern l^nc. I>csatur. (»it»rgia .M)O.VV4(W7: Telephone numf>cr 404 
h~*J-4S01) to award As.MKtatc. Bacvalaurralr. Master's, and Spcviallst 

II IS ihc poluy of Northwestern State UnisTr^ily pi Louisiana not to 
dissnmlnatc on the basis (tf race, color, religion, sex. national origin, 
age, or disability in its educational pntgrams, activities or employmrnl 


I Ins publii document was published at .i total cost ol 
S|",().'^5. 42,500 copies of this public document wen- 
I'ublished in this lirst printing at a cost of $17,055. Ihc 
lotal cost of all printings of this document, including 
icprints is $17,055. Ihis document was published b\ 
Northwestern State University Office ol I'niversilv 

Vdvanienienl and printed by Moran Printing, Inc , 542S 
I lorul.i Boulevanl. Baton Rouge. LA 70806 to foster and 
promote the mutually beneficial relationship between 
Niirllusestern Mate University and its alumni, supporters 
.ind loninuinilv partners Ihis material was printed in 
.uiotdaiKe with standards for printing by state agencies 
established pursuant to R S 4.V.M Printing ol this material 
was purchased in accordance with llic pruMsmns ol lillc 
43 of the 1 ouisiana Revised Statin ^ 


Benefactor leaves $200,000 trust to archives 

Egan family's impact on nortli Louisiana liistory well-documented in family collection 

Northwestern State University's 
Cammie G. Henry Research Center 
received a trust of $200,000 from 
a benefactor whose collection of 
family documents has been man- 
aged by the NSU Archives for more 
than 40 years. The bequest from 
the estate of the late Edward Myers 
Egan is the largest single monetary 
donation to benefit Northwestern 
State's Eugene P.Watson Memorial 

Edward Myers Egan, who passed 
away in May 201 2, was a descen- 
dant of Dr. Bartholomew Egan, a 
figure of historic interest in Louisi- 
ana. The Egan Collection includes 
letters and documents from Dr. 
Bartholomew Egan and other mem- 
bers of the Egan family that provide 
valuable information to research- 
ers interested in the history of the 
Baptist denomination in Louisiana, 
Confederate medical history and 
daily life in 1 9th century rural north 

According to NSU Archivist Mary Linn Wernet, the Egan 
Collection documents Dr. Bartholomew Egan's life from the 
time before he immigrated from Dublin, Ireland, to Vir- 
ginia, where he received medical training, was a prominent 
educator and converted to the Baptist faith. After mov- 
ing to Mount Lebanon, La., in 1 847, he was instrumental 
in founding the Louisiana Baptist Convention and Mount 
Lebanon University, the first university in north Louisiana. Dr. 
Bartholomew Egan served as surgeon general and head of 
the state laboratory under the Confederate government of 

"After Dr. Egan received a land grant to settle in Bienville 
Parish, he established Mount Lebanon as a Baptist college 
for men,"Wernet said. "We have letters from Ireland and as 
he moved from there to Virginia and Louisiana. We have 
official and family letters from Mount Lebanon days and into 
the Civil War when he was surgeon general." 

Dr. Bartholomew Egan's granddaughter. Miss Lavinia Egan, 
who was born during the Civil War and died during World 
War II, is credited with gathering and preserving many of the 
letters and documents that make up the collection, Wernet 

"Lavinia moved to Shreveport and was an advocate for 
women's rights and a historian who maintained the collec- 
tion/'Wernet explained. 

Dr. Bartholomew Egan 

"The papers have been re- 
searched by historians not only 
interested in Bartholomew's life 
but also in Mount Lebanon as 
the first school of its kind in the 
area and because of the medical 
research that took place there. It 
was a place where they conducted 
pharmaceutical research and 
developed compounds to treat the 
wounded during the Civil War, so 
there are professors of pharmacy 
interested in information on the 
school's medical practices." 

The Cammie G. Henry Research 
Center is housed on the third floor 
of NSU's Watson Library and con- 
tains Louisiana books, rare books, 
archival materials, NSU Archives, 
microfilm, maps, newspapers and 
oral history tapes. Most collections 
focus on Louisiana history with 
documents ranging in date from 
the founding of Natchitoches in 
1 71 4 to the present. The Egan Col- 
lection has already been utilized in 
three thesis documents by graduate students. 

The Egan family established a relationship with the North- 
western State Archives in the late 1960s when they became 
aware that the university maintained archived documents 
specifically related to Louisiana history. At that time, a por- 
tion of the Egan papers was entrusted to former archivist 
Katherine Bridges to be microfilmed. Edward Egan estab- 
lished a monetary trust for the archives in the 1 970s and 
through the years provided financial support to the Cammie 
G. Henry Research Center by funding shelves and materials 
needed to preserve documents. 

"The Egan family did not have a particular connection to 
Northwestern, but they felt it important that we are able 
to preserve not just their collection, but all the collections, 
letters, documents and maps for future scholars," said Abbie 
Landry, director of Eugene P. Watson Memorial Library. "As 
strong an archive as this is, this type of donation makes it 
even stronger." 

Wernet plans to use the trust as a "perpetual fund for the 
archives as needed and as seed money for matching grants." 

For more information on the Cammie G. Henry Research 
Center, visit 

continued on page 2 

Alumni Columns 

SPRING 2013 

Ill Alumni News 

Pineville High School Principal 
Karl Carpenter was selected to 
be inducted into the Louisiana Music 
Educators' Association Hall of Fame. 
The LMEA annually selects a single 
inductee. Ceremonies were held last 
fall as part of the LMEA All-State Choir 
Concert in Baton Rouge. 

Carpenter began his journey in nnu- 
sic education playing tube in the Alex- 
andria Senior High School band under 
the direction of Jerry Payne, who later 
became band director at Northwestern 
State. Carpenter followed, marching 
the NSU band until his graduation. 

Carpenter earned a bachelor's 
degree in music education in 1 979 and 
a master's degree in music at North- 
western in 1 987 before completing his 
doctorate at the University of South- 
ern Mississippi in 2001. He began his 
career in 1979 as a band director, serv- 

ing at Oberlin High School, Winnfield 
Senior High and Tioga High School 
before becoming assistant principal at 
Tioga. He later assumed leadership as 
principal at Carter C. Raymond Middle 
School and is currently principal at 
Pineville High School, where he has 
served since 2007. 

Among the outstanding moments 
in his career are leading the Tioga High 
School band in playing "Hail To The 
Chief" for President Bill Clinton in 1 996, 
the band's appearance that same year 
in the Washington, D.C. Independence 
Day parade and concerts performed 
on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial 
and during a ceremony at the Tomb 
of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington 
National Cemetery. 

Carpenter and his wife Terri have 
been married over 30 years and have 
three children, all who attended NSU. 

In 2010, he was inducted into the 
NSU College of education and Human 
Development Hall of Distinguished 

The Texas Foreign Language Asso- 
ciation named Jennifer Jarnagin 

(2007) Latin Teacher of the Year last 
fall. Jarnagin teaches Latin to about 
150 students at McKinney Boyd High 
School in McKinney, Texas. She has 
been teaching at Boyd since 2009. 

Jarnagin, 29, became interested in 
Latin as a high school student in Loui- 
siana. A professor at Louisiana Schol- 
ars' College at Northwestern State 
encouraged her to pursue classical 
studies, and she earned her master's in 
ancient Greek from Indiana University. 

Michelle Craig (i 999) was 
named one of the 201 2 Most Powerful 
and Influential Women in Louisiana 

continued on page 3 

Egan continued from page 1 

Northwestern State University administrators examine a few letters, photos and receipts from the Egan Collection housed 
in the Cammie G. Henry Research Center. The Center recently received a $200,000 bequest from the estate of Edward Myers 
Egan, a descendant of Dr. Bartholomew Egan, a physician and educator who served as surgeon general of Louisiana during 
the Civil War. From left are Brad Laird, former director of University Advancement; Abbie Landry, director of NSU's Eugene P 
Watson Memorial Library; NSU President Dr. Randall J. Webb, Provost and Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs Dr. 
Lisa Abney and University Archivist Mary Linn Wernet. 


SPRING 2013 

Spotlights continued from page 2 

and was recognized at the fourth an- 
nual Louisiana Women's Conference 
hosted by the National Diversity Coun- 
cil. An awards program took place at 
Dillard University in November. 

This award was presented by the Na- 
tional Diversity Council for leadership 
excellence and for serving as a role 
model for the promotion of diversity 
in the workplace. The conference is 
a statewide event focusing on pro- 
fessional development, community, 
networking, entrepreneurship and 
women's health. The 2012 theme was 
"Finding Health, Wealth and Balance 
in 201 2," through health care, profes- 
sional development and entrepreneur- 
ship and work-life balance. Craig is a 
partner in the New Orleans office of 
Adams and Reese where she is a labor 
and employment attorney. 

Morehead State University's 
Dr. Edna O. Schack, professor of 
education, received the 201 2 Mathe- 
matics Education Service and Achieve- 
ment Award (M.E.S.A. Award). The 
award was presented by the Kentucky 
Council of Teachers of Mathemat- 
ics (KCTM) during its fall conference. 
Awardees are nominated by KCTM 
members and are chosen by an awards 
committee. This state-level award is 
KCTM's highest honor. Award winners 
are selected for outstanding work in 
their area of expertise and service to 
the mathematics community. 

In 201 1, Dr. Schack was awarded a 
$102,907 grantfrom the National Sci- 
ence Foundation to research the peda- 
gogical content knowledge prepara- 
tion of preservice elementary teachers 
in mathematics across Kentucky. 

Dr. Schack graduated with an Ed.D. 
degree from Illinois State University. 
She received her B.A. and M.S. degrees 
from Northwestern State University in 
1968. She joined the Morehead State 
faculty in 1987. 

Ruth Fruge (201 2) joined the 
staff at the University of Detroit Mercy 
Athletics Department as ticket sales 
and fan experience manager. Fruge 
previously worked as the market- 
ing and ticket operations assistant 
at Northwestern State, where she as- 
sisted in all facets of ticket operations 
and fan interaction. She also worked 
as a recruitment student assistant in 
the Louisiana Scholars' College recruit- 
ment office. 

U.S. Army Maj. Treg Ancelet 

spent several months as an officer in 
special events planning for the 57th 
Presidential Inauguration that took 
place Jan. 21 . Ancelet, a Houma native 
who earned a degree in music educa- 
tion at Northwestern State University 
in 1 993, has served for three years 
as commander of The Army Ground 
Forces Band. 

"Anything that goes on outside of 
the swearing-in ceremony or parade 
falls under the category of special 
events - inaugural balls, concerts or 
prayer services," Ancelet explains. "My 
job is to look over some troops and 
make sure we get anything militarily 
that is needed for these events." 

Ancelet's duties included but were 
not limited to scheduling color guards, 
honorary bands at each ball and clear- 
ances for performers at various venues. 
I "Everything down to when electric- 

ity is plugged in is scheduled and 
accounted for," Ancelet said. "The 
littlest hitch can affect the course of 
the event. Everything is timed down 
to the wire." 

His next assignment is to the Army's 
heralded "Pershing's Own," the premier 
musical organization of the U.S. Army 
since 1922. 

Ancelet is a former drum major of 
the Spirit of Northwestern Demon 
Marching Band. 

Derek Nunn (1 999) of Muskogee, 
Okla., was elected to the Hilldale Pub- 
lic Schools' school board in February. 
Nunn, 38, holds a bachelor's degree 
from Northwestern State. He and 
his wife Greeva have a daughter and 
both work for the U.S. Department of 
Veterans Affairs. 

Taryn Vinet of River Ridge was 
named the new managing director 
of St. John Theatre in Reserve earlier 
this year. Vinet has a bachelor of arts 
degree in theatre from Northwestern 
State University and is working to- 
wards a master's in arts administration 
from the University of New Orleans. 

Vinet has worked as an actor and 
a technician throughout the Greater 
New Orleans area, has done some writ- 
ing for the stage and is a member of 
the Big Easy theatre awards nominat- 
ing committee. 

Vinet was hired with St. John in 
August 201 2, after managing SJT's co- 
production of "The Living Christmas 
Tree" in December and a handful of 
other engagements at the theatre. 

Nominations open for Hall of Distinguished Educators 

Northwestern State University's Gallaspy (Family) College of 
Education and Human Development Alumni Advisory Board 
is seeking nominations for the Hall of Distinguished Educators 
for 201 3. Nominees must have graduated from NSU's College 
of Education at least 30 years prior to nomination. Inductees 
are annually recognized during Homecoming festivities and 
honored with a brunch and induction ceremony at theTeacher 
Education Center. 

The deadline to submit nominations is July 1 2. 

Anyone who would like to nominate an outstanding College 

Scan this to see 
the members of the 
Hall of Distin- 
guished Educators 

of Education alumnus 
who has had a distin- 
guished career in educa- 
tion should send the 

nominee's resume and other documentation outlining the reason 
for the nomination to Gallaspy (Family) College of Education and 
Human Development, c/o Janet Broadway, Northwestern State 
University, Natchitoches, LA 71497. 

Additional information is available by calling Broadway at (318) 
357-6278 or e-mailing 

Alumni Columns 

SPRING 2013 

In overcoming adversity, Smith book 
creates awareness of IPF 

Jerry Smith (1961) released his third book earlier this 
year, "Tragedy, Abandonment and Murder - Led to Hap- 
piness." He also reports that he taped three television 
shows for the ION Media Television Network and that a 
writer from California is writing a screenplay based on his 
life as documented in his best-selling book, "Does God 
Give Us More Than We Can Bear?" Smith is hoping to cre- 
ate awareness of pulmonary fibrosis, a fatal lung disease, 
and create a Pulmonary Fibrosis Society similar to the 
American Cancer Society, to advocate research to find a 
possible cure. 

"Every morning I wake up and say, 'It's great to be alive.' 
After a life of tragedy, abandonment, rejections, the 
murder of my wife and death of my grandson, I found 
happiness only to be diagnosed in 2004 at the age of 64, 
with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis," Smith wrote. 

According to the National Institutes of Health, 
idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a condition in 
which over a period of time the lung tissue becomes 
thickened, stiff and scarred. As the lung tissue becomes 
scarred and thicker, the lungs lose their ability to transfer 
oxygen into the bloodstream. As a result, the brain and 
other organs don't receive the oxygen they need. 

"I found a doctor in Germany with a laboratory who 
analyzed my blood and found a fungus that caused 
my P.F. and made a serum that destroyed the fungus in 
2008," he said. "My Dallas doctor told me that my disease 
was now in remission. Today my lung capacity is at 52 
percent. Every day of my life is a struggle to breathe 
when I over exert and when the weather, temperature 
and the pollution count changes. I need medicine daily 
to clear the mucus that builds up from the scar tissue 
in my lungs, which causes chronic coughing. Often the 
coughing causes severe breathlessness, which causes 
severe pain, until I can stop the coughing and restore 
normal breathing. But I wouldn't change my life today 
because of the happiness that I experience helping oth- 

The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation of America claims 
that there is no known cause, medicine, treatment or 
cure for the condition and that the expected life span is 
two to three years from the date of diagnosis. 

"It's been nine years since my diagnosis and no one 
can explain why I am alive and doing fairly well," Smith 
said. "Statistics show there are currently 200,000 pulmo- 
nary fibrosis patients in the United States with approxi- 
mately 45,000 new patients yearly and about 50,000 
patients dying yearly in this country. There are about the 
same number of people dying from pulmonary fibrosis 
annually as women dying from breast cancer. And while 
everybody is aware of breast cancer, almost no one has 
heard of pulmonary fibrosis and there isn't any funding 
or practical research being done." 

More information about Smith is available at He can be contacted via e-mail at 

Northwestern State University President Dr. Ran- 
dall J. Webb, left, awarded an Nth Degree to Jacque 
Crew, center, and Robert Crew in recognition of their 
years of service to NSU. Robert Crew has been ex- 
ecutive assistant to the president for 16 years after 
working in the Louisiana Department of Education. 
Jacque Crew was a distinguished educator, who 
volunteered countless hours to assist Northwest- 
ern State and Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority. The Nth 
Degree is one of the university's highest honors and 
is bestowed for going the extra mile in meritorious 
service to mankind. It is presented to those whose 
professional responsibilities and various other roles 
in making this a better world are carried out to the 
Nth Degree. 

Alunnni from Northwestern State University's 
Beta Omicron Chapter of Pi Kappa Phi present- 
ed the last of their 50-year fraternity and sorori- 
ty certificates from the 1 956-1 964 alumni group 
during a reunion luncheon of the founders. Bar- 
bara Dean Cameron (1964) was awarded a 50- 
year certificate as a Delta Zeta Sorority member 
by her husband George Cameron, Pi Kappa Phi 
alum (1964). Barbara was also selected as the 
Rose of Beta Omicron Chapter in 1962. 

Alumni Columns 

SPRING 2013 

A play by Northwestern State University and Louisiana 
Scholars' College alumnus Greg Romero has been pub- 
lished by YouthPLAYS. 

Romero's work, "Of Plastic Things and Butterfly Wings," is a 
children's play about a plastic water bottle named Sam that 
has lost her parents in the Gyres, a swirling ocean landfill 
twice the size of Texas. With help from a blue crab with a gi- 
ant claw, a parrot who thinks she is a seagull and The Oldest 
Sea Turtle That Ever Lived, Sam embarks on a family-friendly, 
music-filled, epic journey to save us all from the lonely, swirl- 
ing vortex of thrown-away things and lost hope. 

Romero was commissioned to write the play, which is 
aimed at children in grades K - 5 and addressed the environ- 
ment and issues of sustainability. 

"It is a huge reward to have a play published," said Romero, 
a 1999 graduate of the Louisiana Scholars' College who was 
also active in the NSU Theatre. "It shows a publisher believes 
in you and is willing to invest time, energy and money in 
you. It allows your work to reach more people and lets your 
play be experienced on the page or in a production." 

Currently based in Philadelphia, Romero's other plays 
include "The Most Beautiful Lullaby You've Ever Heard" and 
"The Milky Way Cabaret." His plays have been presented in 
New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Dallas, Austin, 
Washington, D.C., Louisville and New Orleans. Romero's site- 
specific projects and participatory live-events include "Mate- 
rial V. Memory,"a walking, guided tour through a dozen per- 
ishable events staged throughout West Philadelphia, "The 
Dream Listener," in which individuals met in the library of 
Plays & Players Theater to tell him their dreams, and "Marco 
Polo," staged in the bathrooms of Actors Theatre of Louisville 
during The Humana Festival for New American Plays. 

Romero has been a finalist for the Heideman Award, a 
semi-finalist for the Princess Grace Award, a semi-finalist for 
the Northpoint Voices Inside Playwriting Residency, nomi- 
nated for the F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Theater 
Artist and was selected as the first-ever resident writer of the 
ArtsEdge Residency, created by The Kelly Writers House and 
The University of Pennsylvania. He is one of three play- 
wrights to inaugurate the Philadelphia Dramatists Center/ 
Plays & Players Playwriting Residency and is an alumnus of 
the 201 2 WordBRIDGE Playwrights Laboratory. 

Romero has been commissioned by The Cardboard Box 
Collaborative and Little Fish Theater, and is a member of The 
Dramatists Guild of America. His works have also been pub- 
lished by The Penn Review, The Brighton Post, Heinemann 
Press and Playscripts, Inc. 

During baseball season, Romero works for the Philadel- 
phia Phillies as a "Phanstormer." He juggles at the entrance 
of Citizens Bank Park, sings"Happy Birthday" to fans in the 
seats and sometimes shoots t-shirts or hot dogs to fans 
along with the team mascot, the Phillie Phanatic. 

Romero received an MFA in playwriting from The Univer- 
sity of Texas-Austin where he held the James A. Michener 

According to Romero, the Scholars' College helped him 
gain a foundation for his career. 

"Reading through the Great Books sequence had a 
major impact on me," said Romero, who earned a Bach- 
elor of Arts in Liberal Arts. "It helped me to expand my 
mind and learn to think critically. I also benefitted from 
the deep exchanges that took place with the faculty and 
fellow students." 

Romero credited the Scholars' College faculty with creat- 
ing a good environment for learning. 

"It was so powerful that the professors of the Scholars' 
College who were incredible intellectuals took me and class- 
mates who were 18, 1 9 or 20 years old seriously as thinkers," 
he said. "It was empowering that professors we admired 
listened to us." 

The experience Romero had with the theatre program was 
also important to him. 

"I feel really fortunate to have journeyed through these 
programs at the same time - the NSU theatre department 
and the Scholars' College - as each journey fed the other 
through their unique, often complimentary, demands," said 
Romero. "I will always treasure the work I did at NSU as a 
performer, as the skills and experiences gained through that 
has deeply informed my work now as a writer and gener- 
ally enriched my own life. And it was there that seeds were 
planted for my own growth into playwriting; namely, I began 
writing my own audition monologues, and then began writ- 
ing for others as well." 

In his senior year, Romero took a playwriting class under 
Scott Burrell, now the coordinator of theatre. 

"I wrote my first play in that class inspired by a field-trip 
our class took to the famous American Cemetery," said 
Romero."! will always appreciate Scott's openness to and 
encouragement of the specific questions I was asking at the 
time, which echoed nicely with the joyfully rigorous spirit I 
loved so much from the Scholars' College." 

More information on Romero is available at 


Alumni Columns 

SPRING 2013 


Anne Storms' list of achieve- 
ments got longer last 
December. The 87-year old 
resident of DeRidder was 
among those who received a degree 
from Northwestern State University 
during Fall Commencement. 

Storms, who earned an Associate 
of Arts in history, earned her degree 
at Northwestern State's Leesville/Fort 
Polk campus. 

"I can't believe this is happening," 
said Storms prior to graduation. "Tak- 
ing classes has been a wonderful expe- 
rience for me. I have gotten so much 
pleasure out of learning and I have 
found out how much I don't know." 

Anne Stornns, left and 
Dr. Kathleen Smith, right 

Storms first started college in 1 944 
at Texas State College for Women, 
now Texas Women's University. A year 
later, she left college and married Wil- 
liam Gale Storms in 1 946. The Storms 
started a family and she worked at 
Southwestern Bell Telephone as a 
switchboard operator. Her husband 
finished his teaching degree at South- 
west Texas State University, now Texas 
State University-San Marcos. 

In the 1950s she became an army 
wife, living throughout the United 
States as well as in Asia and Europe. 
While caring for their two children. 
Storms worked at various jobs includ- 
ing a stint as an intelligence decoder 

in Tokyo. She was also a volunteer 
with the Girl Scouts and the American 
Cancer Society. 

After her husband retired from the 
military. Storms worked as a book- 
keeper and a licensed real estate bro- 
ker, serving as president of the Toledo 
Bend Board of Realtors. She was also 
active in the Business and Professional 
Women's Club of Louisiana, which 
honored her as "Nike" Woman of the 
Year in 1990 and State President in 

After her husband passed away. 
Storms decided to back to college. 

"After I lost my husband, I felt lost," 
she said. "I kind of got isolated for 
a while and going back to college 
helped me get more active again." 

Storms took advantage of a North- 
western State program that allows 
those 60 or over to take one 3-hour 
course tuition free. 

"I started taking history under Dr. 
Kathleen Smith and it really started 
an interest for me," said Storms. "She 
is such a wonderful teacher, who pro- 
vides so much information and has a 
great concern for her students." 

Storms said Smith mentored, guided 
and encouraged her as she not only 
honed research and writing skills to 
create papers each semester, but also 
tackled the challenges computer tech- 
nology poses. Fellow students were 
also a help to her. 

"I couldn't believe how wonderful 
the other students were," said Storms. 
"I didn't know how they would react 
to me, but they took to me right away 
and I made some great friends." 


SPRING 2013 

Making An Impact 

Hearts open and a family grows with children in need of a home 

"I think Roland and I have always 
had a heart to serve others, prob- 
ably from a young age," said Dr. 
Amanda Ridley LaComb. 

"We are both people people. We 
love people," added her husband 
Roland LaComb. "We're both vul- 
nerable and believe In honesty and 
have at times been taken advantage 
of, but that hasn't diminished our 
desire to help others." 

Over the years, Amanda, a doctor, 
and Roland, a coach and teacher, have 
opened their hearts and home to 
many children in need and are parents 
to a blended family of biological and 
adopted children, while their careers 
as a physician and an educator enable 
them to nurture and mentor other 
youth they encounter. 

"It can be difficult. You catch people 
looking at you," Roland said. "But we 
look at them as our own. You don't see 
color, you don't see race." 

The LaComb family includes two 
biological daughters, ages 16 and 13, 
three sons adopted from China, ages 
10, 8 and 3, and two African American 
siblings, ages 6 and 7. Roland and 
Amanda have also fostered many chil- 
dren, both temporarily and long-term. 

When Roland and Amanda met at 
Northwestern, they already shared 
an interest in special needs children. 
Roland worked one summer at the 
Louisiana Lions Camp, a summer camp 
sponsored by the Lions Clubs of Loui- 
siana for children with special needs, 
diabetes and pulmonary disorders. 

"People in my community thought 
working at Lion's would be a great 
opportunity for me," he said. "I always 
wanted to work with and help kids and 
I learned a lot." 

Amanda was planning to work at the 
Lion's Camp the following summer and 
a mutual friend suggested they meet 
to discuss his experience. 

Roland, a native of Jennings, has two 
siblings. Amanda was an only child 
who grew up in Sherman, Texas. The 
two married the day after Christmas 
in 1992. Amanda had just graduated 
from the Louisiana Scholars' College 
with a concentration in scientific 

The Lacomb Family: front row from left, Liam, Tanner, Hezekiah, Chuan and Jamarsha. On 
the back row are Caitlin, Roland, Maia and Amanda. 

inquiry and was about to start medical 
school while Roland was finishing his 
last semester at Northwestern State, 
earning his degree in education in 
1993. Amanda is a general practitioner 
while Roland is a basketball coach and 
special education teacher. They live in 
Elton near Jennings. 

"We had two girls and our younger 
daughter was a tough delivery," he 
said. "We always wanted to have a 
large family but had never thought 
of adoption. We started looking into 
adoption agencies and ended up 
looking abroad to China, Russia and 
Guatemala, as well as looking at spe- 
cial needs children." 

"I was adopted as an infant," Amanda 
explained. "There are a lot of initial 
considerations: types of children avail- 
able, ages, sex, special needs, etc. plus 
travel to the country. Do both parents 
have to travel? Are you assigned a 
child? Do you pick? Are you matched 
before or after the commitment is 
made? Ultimately we decided China's 
program best fit our needs." 

Although girls are more commonly 
adopted from China, there are millions 
of boys in Chinese orphanages, most 
with special needs due to a physical 
ailment as well as older children who 
were abandoned. The LaCombs began 

paperwork and other requirements 
for the process of adoption in 2005, 
just before Hurricanes Katrina and Rita 
struck Louisiana. 

"After Katrina, we took in a family 
of 1 3 from St. Bernard Parish, so we 
put our home study on a back burner," 
Amanda said. "Then Rita devastated 
Lake Charles and our agency. Volun- 
teers of America, was busy helping 
others. The immigration office in New 
Orleans was completely closed and 
everything almost stopped on our 
processing of immigration paperwork." 
Steps in the process that normally took 
a few weeks dragged on for months. 

"The China side of paperwork takes 
another six months, so we were able to 
finally travel in January 2007 to meet 
our son on his third birthday," Amanda 

During the wait, the LaCombs had 
become foster parents to a 1 -year-old, 
caring for him for six months. 

"We were devastated when he left. 
However, just two months after that, 
on our daughter's second birthday, 
OCS placed with us a biological 
brother and sister, who we have since 
adopted," she said. 

Through 2008 and 2009 the couple 
continued to foster children, having 
over 15 different placements both 

continued on page 8 

Alumni Columns 

SPRING 2013 

Lacomb family continued from page 7 

short and long term. 

"We have fostered as an emer- 
gency overnight placement, fostered 
a newborn addicted to methadone, 
fostered kids who were identified as 
being kidnapped from out of state and 
fostered a young teenage mother with 
her infant son so she could keep her 
son because there are no group homes 
for troubled teens with their own kids. 
We fostered some kids whose parents 
got themselves straight and got their 
children returned and adopted two of 
our children through our experiences," 
Amanda said. Not all their 
experiences were positive. They 
asked for the removal of one fos- 
ter child because of his aggres- 
sive behavior toward their other 

Roland and Amanda began to 
consider adopting an older child 
from China and were convinced 
they should adopt two children 
at once, which was unusual at 
the time. The couple found 
a video of a boy with a rare 
genetic disease and another 
year-old boy who had a cleft lip 
and palate and partial blindness. 
The LaCombs wrote a letter de- 
tailing their experiences as parents and 
foster parents, interviewed through the 
agency and were approved. 

"Theday afterThanksgiving 2010, 1 
got on a plane with Roland's aunt to go 
and get our boys," Amanda said. 

People often say to Amanda and Ro- 
land "You must be saints," or "you must 
be great parents." 

"I don't think we are saints or great 
parents," she said. "We love children 
and see a need that we can help. We 
are broken and flawed individuals try- 
ing to make a difference in our world. 
Adopting has fulfilled our desires to 
parent and love others and show God's 
love every day. You can send money to 
organizations that help kids or orphans 
or the elderly or whatever your 'cause' 
is and there is nothing wrong with that. 
For us, we needed to share our lives 
every day and really stretch our hearts." 

The LaCombs said there is always an 
adjustment period for the whole family 
when someone new arrives. 

"There is usually a brief honeymoon, 
then some lines are drawn and ulti- 
mately they accept each other and we 
grow as a family," Amanda said. "They 

all fight like the brothers and sisters 
that they are. People ask me all the 
time if they are related and I say. They 
are now.'" 

In 201 1, Roland and Amanda 
stopped fostering because it seemed 
difficult for the newest adopted sib- 
lings to cope with the transitions. 

"We always talked with them about 
why the children were staying with us. 
Sometimes it made sense as a mom 
who is a doctor and we could take care 
of a baby who was sick, but we made 
the decision when our social worker 

"It goes back to the way I was raised. I 
had a strong belief that I wanted to have a 
family. Being poor, I always wanted to do it 
the right way. It all starts fronn that. I had a 
Jesuit priest who lived across the street from 
me, who took me under his wing and taught 
me that I had a choice. That lit a fire under 
me. No one in my family had ever been to 
college. You're either going to stay in that 
rut or fight your way through." 

visited for the two Chinese boys' one- 
year follow up report to send to China," 
Amanda said. "We could not find our 
6-year-old son. I searched the house 
and found him sitting on his bed cry- 
ing. He thought someone was going 
to take him away, so we decided no 
more social workers with tablets and 
pencils to take notes." 

"We've been through so much," said 
Roland, whose less than perfect child- 
hood motivates him to be the best 
parent he can be. 

"It goes back to the way I was raised. 
I had a strong belief that I wanted to 
have a family. Being poor, I always 
wanted to do it the right way. It all 
starts from that. I had a Jesuit priest 
who lived across the street from me, 
who took me under his wing and 
taught me that I had a choice. That lit 
a fire under me. No one in my family 
had ever been to college. You're either 
going to stay in that rut or fight your 
way through." 

Roland was initially interested in 
psychiatry as a field of study, but real- 
ized "that was not the impact I wanted 
to make." He discovered what he loves we?" 

is teaching, coaching and mentoring. 

"I relate so well to those kids from 
poor backgrounds and abusive situa- 
tions. I love talking to them, getting 
them going in a different direction, 
getting out of poverty and being ac- 
countable. I always knew that coach- 
ing was right for me." 

Amanda's career as a physician 
grants her an avenue to offer comfort 
to a different set of special needs indi- 
viduals through her work with geriatric 
"It is like a way of serving," Roland 
said of Amanda's work. "She 
works with older people who 
are dying and there may not be 
anyoneelse there to listen. She 
cares for them so much." 

The LaCombs sometimes have 
to take their work, their fam- 
ily obligations and challenges 
day by day. That often involves 
helping some of his children 
process their previous fam- 
ily experiences and cope with 
unpleasant realities. 

"They say two of the most 
strenuous careers are doctors 
and teachers," Roland said. 
"We're committed to our ca- 
reers, to each other and to our family." 
Roland said it is not unlikely that the 
LaCombs will adopt more children in 
the future. 

"A person's childhood experience 
is so important. I try to make sure I'm 
doing my best to be the best possible 
parent I can be. We take care of those 
kids. That's the center of who we are. 
It's not perfect. It's something we work 

"Our hearts have been broken and 
they have been torn inside out many 
times over but what good is a 100 
percent intact heart at the end if your 
life?" Amanda asked. "If God gives us 
good gifts to love and a desire to par- 
ent, should we use those gifts? If your 
heart has never hurt for someone else's 
pain, I don't think you've really lived. 
Adopting kids is easy. It's just about 
loving a child who needs a home and 
trying your best to be a parent. One of 
my favorite quotes is Adopting a child 
won't change the world, but you can 
change the world for one child.' People 
are always asking us if we would adopt 
again. My question is why wouldn't 

Alumni Columns 

SPRING 2013 

In a single day, the loss of two legends 

Friday, Dec. 1 4 was a joyful day for 
hundreds of new graduates at North- 
western State University, but for many 
alumni, it will be remembered more as 
the day when the university lost two of 
her most iconic figures, Coach Walter 
Ledet and Norm Fletcher, whose im- 
pacts far eclipsed their roots in athlet- 
ics at Northwestern. 

Ledet, Northwestern State's first All- 
America football player who became 
a legendary coaching figure and a 
high-ranking university administrator 
along with an influential leader in the 
Natchitoches community, died sud- 
denly that morning, a robust figure at 
the age of 93. 

Fletcher, renowned for his broad- 
casting career before he was elected 
three times as Natchitoches Parish 
sheriff, died in the afternoon at the age 
of 82 after battling illness for several 

Both are enshrined in the Louisiana 
Sports Halt of Fame, Ledet in 1 995 
for his athletic and coaching accom- 
plishments at NSU, while Fletcher's 
broadcasting career earned him the 
Distinguished Service Award in Sports 
Journalism in 2010. 

"If Natchitoches had a Mount 
Rushmore, Walter Ledet would be on 
it," said one local NSU graduate, "and 
Norm Fletcher might well be." 

They were friends and active 
members of the Walter P. Ledet Coffee 
Club, a group of retirees, including 
many former NSU faculty, staff and 
alumni, which gathers each weekday 
morning at Merci Beacoup Restaurant. 
For more than the past decade, they 
sat next to each other in the Turpin 
Stadium press box for Demon home 
football games. Both donated their 
bodies to medical science. 

Ledet, an Abbeville native, was a 
1938 Little All-America guard who 
spurned a contract offer from the 
NFL's Philadelphia Eagles to remain in 
Natchitoches and at Northwestern as 
an assistant coach to Harry Turpin. He 
married his college sweetheart, Betty 
Willis of Natchitoches. They celebrated 
their 7r' wedding anniversary July 24 
and he was nearing what would have 

been his 94'^ birthday Jan. 4. 

From 1 952-64, while also serving 
as assistant football coach, he was a 
highly successful head track and field 
coach at Northwestern who won five 
straight Gulf States Conference Cham- 
pionships from 1953-57 and missed a 
sixth in a row by half a point. 

He helped shape the careers of 
three other Louisiana Sports Hall of 
Fame competitors at Northwestern, 
CharlieTolar, Charlie Hennigan and Pro 
Football Hall of Fame member Jackie 
Smith, who came to Northwestern on 
a track scholarship. 

Ledet is in Northwestern's Long 
Purple Line Alumni Hall of Distinction 
and the Graduate N Club Hall of Fame 
for his athletic exploits. The track and 
field facility at NSU was named in his 
honor, the Walter P. Ledet Track Com- 
plex, in 1996. 

Ledet became the university's 
registrar in 1 966 and officially retired 
in 1980. He was a constant figure at 
university events and athletic competi- 
tions both at home and on the road. 
He was recently honorary referee of 
the 201 1 Southland Conference Out- 
door Track and Field Championships 
hosted at the Ledet Complex, which 
is also the site of the annual Louisiana 
High School Athletic Association Cross 

Country Championships. 

An active member of Holy Cross 
Catholic Church who still helped tend 
to the church's flower beds, Ledet was 
the last living founding member of 
the Kiwanis Club of Natchitoches. The 
university's Catholic Student Organi- 
zation recognized him in 2003 for his 
contributions to the university and its 
Catholic students. 

Fletcher, a Natchitoches native, was 
elected as sheriff for the first time in 
1 979, and for several years spoke at 
the FBI Academy in Washington, D.C. 
on topics including efficiency and ef- 
fectiveness of law enforcement opera- 
tions. Fletcher spoke at the National 
Sheriff's Association Convention in 
1 981 , and was keynote speaker at the 
Louisiana Sheriff's Association Conven- 
tion in 1 984 and the Louisiana Police 
Jury Association Convention in 1986. 

An Air Force veteran, Fletcher was 
president of the Natchitoches Parish 
Chamber of Commerce, state chair- 
man of the Louisiana Cultural Resourc- 
es Commission in the 1 960s, and was 
the volunteer City/Parish Civil Defense 
Director for 1 8 years before running 
successfully for sheriff. 

Fletcher was instrumental in the 
John Wayne 1 958 movie "The Horse 
Soldiers" being filmed in and around 

Alumni Columns 

SPRING 2013 

continued on page 10 

Music educator honored 
for 20 years of dedication 

TheTexas Music Educators Association recognized Anthony Robinson (1975) for more 
than 20 years of service to the TMEA annual convention as a percussion clinician and 
organizer for the Texas All-State Symphony Orchestra. 

"Each year different clinicians and guest conductors 
are brought in to rehearse Texas' finest student musicians 
and present a concert of very difficult orchestral and band 
literature at the conclusion of the convention," Robinson 
said. "My work towards helping prepare the percussionists 
to play their parts has resulted in me being asked repeat- 
edly by TMEA officials to return and serve in this capacity. It 
was quite an honor to receive the certificate of recognition 
because I wasn't expecting it and I did not think anyone had 
noticed how many years I served as percussion organizer/ 

Robinson is currently percussion instructor at East Texas 
Baptist University and Wiley College of Marshall, Texas; per- 
cussion coordinator for the Springhill ISD of Longview, Texas; 
principal percussion and assistant conductor of the Marshall 
Symphony and has spent 34 seasons with the Shreveport 
Symphony Orchestra. He also performs with the Longview, 
South Arkansas, Texarkana and occasionally the East Texas 
and Rapides symphonies. 

Robinson served 20 years as assistant band director/ 

percussion coordinator/junior high band director for the 
Marshall IDS band program under the leadership of Dr. Jerry 
Payne and succeeded Dr. Payne as director of bands upon 
his retirement in 2002. He retired from that position in 2007. 

Robinson's professional affiliations include Phi Beta Mu, 
Alpha Chapter, TBA, TMEA, Performing Artist For Yamaha Inc. 
and The Company of Fifers and Drummers. 

Robinson's presentation coincided with the TMEA confer- 

"This caught me by surprise because the Orchestra Divi- 
sion timed the presentation to conflict with a sectional and 
I was reluctant to leave the sectional," he said. "I am the only 
organizer/clinician to have been assigned to work all 5A All/ 
State groups, which include Concert Band, Symphonic Band, 
Philharmonic and Symphony Orchestras." 

Robinson's percussion instructors at Northwestern State 
were the late Dr. John Raush and Don Keipp with post un- 
dergraduate studies with the late Edward Kozak of Shreve- 

Legends continued from page 9 

Natchitoches. He played the father of 
the groom in the popular 1 989 motion 
picture "Steel Magnolias,"also filmed in 
and around Natchitoches. 

Fletcher served in five decades as 
the "Voice of the Hall of Fame," lend- 
ing his baritone delivery as the narra- 
tor for ceremonies and videotape. His 
stirring style ushered each inductee 
into the elite ranks of Hall of Fame 
membership, but it is only a part of 
his remarkable contribution to state 
sports history. 

He was a prominent sportscaster in 
north Louisiana beginning in the late 
1 940s and continuing into the 1 990s, 
and still was a contributor until enter- 
ing the hospital in October. Fletcher 
was "Voice of the Demons" calling 
Northwestern State sports events 

nearly continuously beginning at the 
age of 18 in 1949 until running suc- 
cessfully for sheriff, and he reassumed 
the NSU broadcasting role for two 
years in the early 1990s. 

From 1949-79, he broadcast high 
school sports, doing every Natchi- 
toches High/Natchitoches Central 
football and basketball game, except 
for time spent in the U.S. Air Force. 
He was Editor-in-Chief of the Armed 
Forces Radio Service Far East Network 
in the 1950s as chief news and sports 
announcer. He broadcast major sports 
events throughout the Far East, includ- 
ing football, baseball and boxing. 

For a quarter-century after he re- 
turned home to Natchitoches, he did 
either prep or college basketball game 
broadcasts five nights a week from 

mid-November until early March, and 
returned back to the studio early the 
following mornings to anchor the local 
news and sports reports and a talk 
show. Broadcasting sports including 
football, basketball, baseball, boxing, 
boat races and even two Gulf States 
Conference track and field champion- 
ship meets, his total of play-by-play 
events was over 4,000 broadcasts. As 
co-owner of KNOC-AM and KDBH-FM, 
Fletcher helped launch the broadcast 
careers of dozens of NSU students, in- 
cluding LSU's Jim Hawthorne and Cox 
Sports Television's Lyn Rollins. 

Alumni Columns 

SPRING 2013 

Mathews takes Spirit of Northwestern director's baton 

Jeffrey C. Mathews has been 
named director of bands at 
Northwestern State University ef- 
fective July 1 . His appointment is 
subject to approval by the Board 
of Supervisors for the University 
of Louisiana System. 

Mathews will replace Bill Brent 
who has been director of bands 
since 1983, building the band 
from one with 48 members to 
one with approximately 300. 
Brent will remain as director of 
the Mrs. H.D. Dear Sr. and Alice 
E. Dear School of Creative and 
Performing Arts, focusing on 
observation of student teachers, 
student recruitment and fund- 

Mathews has been at North- 
western State since 1 998 as 
associate director of bands/asso- 
ciate professor of music, director 
of student activities and organi- 
zations and director of athletic 
bands/assistant professor of music. 

"Becoming director of bands at NSU represents the pin- 
nacle of my 28-year relationship with the band program that 
began when Mr. Brent recruited me to be a member of the 
band out of Bossier High School in 1 985," said Mathews. "I 
had the good fortune to be on hand to watch Mr. Brent build 
the Spirit of Northwestern into what it is today. Mr. Brent 
and I have worked closely to maintain the size and quality of 
the SON together for the last 1 4 years and I look forward to 
continuing that work moving forward. Fans of the SON can 
rest assured that they will continue to see great half times 
shows, great pep band support at basketball games and 
professional level concerts." 

The Spirit of Northwestern Marching Band was a finalist 
for the 201 1 Sudler Trophy, an award to identify and recog- 
nize collegiate marching bands of particular excellence that 
have made outstanding contributions to the American way 
of life. NSU's band participated in the 201 1 New Year's Day 
Parade and Festival in London. Northwestern State's band 
was named one of the top eight in the country by the Web 
site in 2008. 

"After 30 years of serving as the director of bands at North- 
western State, I feel it is time to hand the podium of this in- 
credible organization to the next generation," said Brent. "Jeff 
Mathews has been a loyal and dedicated colleague and 
associate for nearly 1 4 years and I know that he will continue 
the 1 00-i-year tradition of excellence with the band program 
at Northwestern. He, along with Associate Director of 
Bands Kenneth Green and Assistant Director of Bands Steve 
McKeithen, will work closely with the music faculty and the 

Jeffrey C. Mathews 

administration to ensure that the 
Spirit of Northwestern contin- 
ues to be a focal of pride for the 
University, our alumni and the 
Natchitoches community." 

Brent said Northwestern's 
administration has helped the 
marching band gain national 

"I want to sincerely thank Dr. 
Randall Webb and his adminis- 
tration for their support for the 
past 1 7 years and Dr. Robert 
Alost who was my boss prior 
to Dr. Webb, for his support as 
well," said Brent. "It has been a 
wonderful time for me and I feel 
that the program will continue to 
thrive under the leadership of Dr. 

As associate director of bands 
and an associate professor of 
music since 2008, Mathews con- 
ducts the NSU Wind Ensemble 
and Symphony Band and serves 
as director of summer music classes. He is part of a recruiting 
team that brings in 85 to 1 00 new band students annually. 
Mathews held the Magale Endowed Professorship at North- 
western State in 2008-09. 

Mathews serves part-time as Chief of Air National Guard 
Bands. He is the functional manager of the Air National 
Guard band program nationwide and principal advisor to 
the Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs Division and 
National Guard Bureau Public Affairs on matters pertaining 
to Air National Guard Bands. 

From 2004 to 2008, Mathews was director of student 
activities and organizations and lead a department in the 
Division of Student Affairs. He coordinated facility use at 
Northwestern State and managed day-to-day operations of 
the Friedman Student Union. Mathews advised the Student 
Government Association and oversaw the Recognized Stu- 
dent Organization program. 

Mathews was director of athletic bands/assistant profes- 
sor of music from 1 998 to 2004, managing and directing all 
aspects of the Spirit of Northwestern Marching Band. 

Mathews earned a Bachelor of Music Education at North- 
western State, a Master of Music Education at the University 
of North Texas and a Doctor of Musical Arts in conducting 
pedagogy at the University of Southern Mississippi. 

An article by Mathews, "A Descriptive Analysis of Martin 
Ellerby's 'Paris Sketches,'" was published in the Fall 2011 issue 
of the Journal of Band Research. He presented a lecture, "Air 
Force Bands in the 21 st Century: A New Mission in the Global 
War on Terror," at The Martin Institute of Stonehill College, 
Music and War Conference in 2008. 

Alumni Columns 

SPRING 2013 

Foundation News 

Les Amies Service Organization created a scholarship to benefit a female student at Northwestern State University who demonstrates 
leadership and a commitment to service. From left are Les Amies members Dene McCauley, Haley Blount, NSU's associate director of 
Alumni Affairs; Past President Claire Wardell, Les Amies 1 " Vice President Lindsay Maggio, President Jennifer Ingram, NSU Associate 
Director of Development Jill Bankston, Lauryn Sharplin, Laurie Richard and Erin Dupree, NSU Development program coordinator. 

Les Amies Scholarship supports leadership in young women 

Les Amies Service Organization of Natchitoches created a 
scholarship through the Northwestern State University Foun- 
dation to benefit an upper-level female student who dem- 
onstrates strong leadership and a commitment community 
service. The Les Amies of Natchitoches Service and Leadership 
Award will be granted to a resident of Natchitoches or sur- 
rounding parishes. 

"We're so excited to be able to assist a young woman in con- 
tinuing her education, while encouraging all young women to 
become leaders and set a good example through their service 
to others," said Haley Blount, Les Amies fund raising member-at- 
large and NSU's associate director of Alumni Affairs. "While our 
members are already dedicated to the mission of serving the 

Natchitoches community and all those in need, it's important 
that we encourage others to adopt that same attitude of self- 
lessness and service. Awarding a scholarship to a young female 
who is already dedicated to serving others and bettering herself 
through her education is one the best ways we could think of to 
give back to our community." 

Les Amies is a women's service organization established 
in Natchitoches in 1 958 that encourages service, friendship, 
hospitality and loyalty. Each member is encouraged to apply 
the club slogan of "the best through togetherness" and put into 
action the club motto of "We must learn to do simple things 
perfectly before we can acquire the skills to do difficult things 

More Campus News 

NSU's online programs get favora 

Northwestern State University's online 
degree programs were included in the 
201 3 edition of Top Online Education 
Program rankings by U.S. News & World 

Northwestern State's online bachelor's 
programs were ranked 57th and the 
online graduate program in education 
was also ranked. This is the second year 
for U.S. News ranking of online programs 
and the first year for numeric rankings for 
degree programs. 

The university's online bachelor's pro- 
grams were ranked 31 st in the country in 
student engagement and assessment and 
46th in student service and technology. 
Northwestern State's graduate programs 
were ranked 51st in student engagement 
and accreditation and 75th in student 
services and technology. 

"Northwestern State has sought a 
leadership role in the delivery of online 

ble ranking in national study 

education for the past decade. These 
rankings show the university is com- 
mitted to providing quality academic 
programs using the latest technology in 
course delivery," said Northwestern State 
President Dr. Randall J. Webb. 

The rankings in student services and 
technology evaluate the way programs al- 
low students to participate in online class- 
es and how faculty assesses classwork. 

NSU was the only Louisiana university 
ranked for its online bachelor's programs. 
Northwestern State was the only Loui- 
siana university to receive rankings in 
student engagement and assessment on 
the bachelor's level and a graduate rank- 
ing in student services and technology. 
NSU was the highest ranked university in 
the state for student service and technol- 
ogy on the bachelor's level and graduate 
student engagement and accreditation. 

"Northwestern State strives to pro- 

vide quality programs and services for 
students," said Dr. Darlene Williams, vice 
president for technology, research and 
economic development. "It's wonderful 
to receive this type of recognition that 
can only be attributed to the exceptional 
faculty and staff who work with our stu- 
dents every day." 

Online bachelor's degree programs 
in education as well as graduate online 
degree programs in business, education, 
engineering, nursing and computer infor- 
mation technology were ranked. 

The rankings for degree programs are 
based on criteria including student en- 
gagement, faculty credentials and train- 
ing and student services and technology. 

Thirty-two degree programs at North- 
western State are available online. 

Information on electronic classes at 
NSU is available at 

Alumni Columns 

SPRING 2013 


A scholarship has been established at the North- 
western State University Foundation in memory of 
Natchitoches Parish Sheriff's deputy and Northwestern 
State alumnus Ricky Issac Jr., who died in 
an on-duty automobile accident Dec. 8, 

The Natchitoches Parish Sheriff's Of- 
fice and the NSU Department of Crimi- 
nal Justice, History and Social Sciences 
established the scholarship. Donations 
can be made by mail at the following 
address: Office of University Advance- 
ment, 535 University Parkway, Natchi- 
toches, LA 71497. A notation should be 
made that the donation is for the Ricky 
Issac Jr. Scholarship. 

The scholarship will be awarded to a criminal justice 
major with a preference toward a Natchitoches Parish 
Sheriff's Office deputy or family member. 

Issac, who earned a bachelor's degree in criminal jus- 
tice, was a member of the Northwestern State football 
team and was the 201 1 Defensive Most Valuable Player 

He lettered in football for four years. 

Issac was active in the NSU Huddle of the Fellowship 
of Christian Athletes. He went to work at the NPSO 

soon after graduation in December 201 1 , and 

Ricky Issac scholarship 
honors fallen deputy 

served as the NSU football team's police escort for the 
201 2 squad's last two road trips to Central Arkansas 
and Stephen F. Austin. 

For more information, contact the NSU Foundation 
at (318) 357-4414. 


The Northwestern State University 
Alumni Association is offering an 
opportunity for travelers to experi- 
ence exotic, historic and breathtak- 
ing destinations while contributing 
financial support to the Associa- 
tion. Two luxury cruises have been 
planned for 201 3 to Alaska and to 
Europe with ports of call in Italy, 
Greece and Croatia. 

"These trips are a great opportu- 
nity for our alumni to network with 
other Northwestern State alumni 
and Louisiana natives," said Haley 
Blount, associate director of Alumni 
Affairs. "These trips are offered to 
our alumni and friends at discount- 
ed rates because of the partner- 

Cruises packages offer avenue for 
giving to the Alumni Association 

ship we share with other Louisiana 
universities and the travel compa- 
nies. It's also the perfect way to be 
able to give back to the university, 
because the NSU Alumni Association 
gets a portion of the proceeds from 
each booking." 

An Alaskan cruise, set for Aug. 
5-1 2 aboard the Oceania Cruises' 
Regatta will depart Seattle and sail 
to the Alaskan ports of Wrangell, 
Sitka, Ketchikan and through the 
stunning, scenic Tracy Arm Fjord and 
Inside Passage. Early bird specials 
including two-for-one cruise fares 
and free airfare are available. For 
more information to book passage 
call GoNext at (800) 842-9023. 

The Italian Inspirations cruise 
with ports of call in Italy, Greece and 
Croatia, Oct. 1 7-25, will take travel- 
ers to centuries' old towns aboard 
Oceania Cruise's Riviera, Oct. 1 7-25. 
Travellers will visit Capri, Amalfi and 
Sicily, the Greek wonderlands of 
Zakynthos and Corfu and the walled 
city of Dubrovnik. Early bird spe- 
cials, including two-for-one cruise 
fares and free airfare are available. 
Call GoNext at (800) 842-9023 for 
more information. 

Information is also available at or by call- 
ing Blount at (318) 357-4414. 

Alumni Columns 

SPRING 2013 

Ill Athletic News 

Jay Thomas begins spring training as head football coach 

24th annual Joe Delaney Bowl will be April 20 

As Jay Thomas walked to the 
podium in a packed Stroud Room to 
be introduced as Northwestern State's 
new head football coach, he quietly 
shared a simple message with his new 

Shaking hands with veteran NSU di- 
rector of athletics Greg Burke, Thomas 
softly but firmly said, "I'm going to 
work hard and do this thing right, 

Thomas has since built his staff, 
signed over 20 new recruits to join 
the program for the 201 3 season, and 
begun spring practice, which will cul- 
minate Saturday, April 20 with the 24'" 
Annual Joe Delaney Bowl spring game. 

After hearing glowing words from 
Burke and university president Dr. 
Randy Webb, and listening to Thomas 
outlining his vision for the Demon 
program, people in the audience kept 
using words such as"sincerity,""inten- 
sity,""classy,""passionate " and "winner " 
as they shared their excitement after 
the hour-long event. 

"Coach Thomas is by far one of the 
best human beings in the business," 
said 201 2 senior All-Southland Confer- 

ence kicker John Shaughnessy, the 
conference football Scholar-Athlete of 
the Year. 

"If there was a way to get four more 
years of eligibility," said fellow 2012 
senior defensive end Wade Williams, 
"I would come back to play for Coach 
Thomas. He is that special a coach and 
a man." 

They know first hand. Thomas was 
the Demons' defensive line coach in 
2010 and 2011 before joining long- 
time friend Daryl Daye as assistant 
head coach at Missouri Southern last 
season. They worked together when 
Daye was head coach at Nicholls State 
(1 993-2003) and as graduate assis- 
tants under legendary LSU assistant 
coach Pete Jenkins in 1 988-89 at LSU. 
Thomas succeeded Daye as head 
coach at Nicholls (2004-2009), guiding 
the Colonels to their only Southland 
Conference championship (2005) and 
their highest national ranking (13'", 
2007) along with a leap from 740 to a 
solid 930 score on the NCAA's Academ- 
ic Progress Rate. 

After spending six years as the Colo 
nels coach, Thomas said he learned 

lessons that he's eager to apply in his 
new job. 

"You always want another opportu- 
nity. I've got a vision, I've got a plan, 
I've got this picture painted in my 
mind. Now we can get to work making 
it happen, from day one," he said. 

He dispelled one popular miscon- 
ception about his offensive philoso- 
phy. His Nicholls teams employed the 
triple option running game, ranking 
among national rushing leaders annu- 
ally and often confounding FBS and 
ranked foes, beating Rice in the 2007 
season opener, and coming within 
the final minutes of upsetting the Big 
Ten Conference's Indiana Hoosiers in 
another season. 

"I know everyone thinks I'm this 
triple option guru. I'm a defensive guy, 
by trade, but I do understand offense 
and what gives defenses fits, and 
that's where we want to go. We will be 
creative and innovative. We want to be 
aggressive. Naturally, we need to be 
able to run the football, but also, we 
want to be able to throw the ball," said 

continued on page 15 

Alumni Columns 

SPRING 2013 

This picture has been dubbed "The Demons' Mount Rushmore Photograph." From left are North- 
western State's athletic coaching staff from the late 1 940s, football assistant James Shultz, football as- 
sistant and head track coach Walter Ledet, head basketball coach H. Lee Prather, football assistant and 
head baseball coach Alvin "Cracker" Brown and head football coach Harry Turpin. NSU's track complex 
is named for Ledet, the basketball arena is named for Prather, the baseball stadium has Brown's name 
and football's stadium honors Turpin. 

This image was provided by Betty (Mrs. Walter) Ledet, who donated a large collection of black and 
white photos of Northwestern State/Louisiana Normal sports photos from the 1 930s through the 1 960s 
that Coach Ledet had saved, going back to their college years. The Sports Information Office deeply ap- 
preciates her kindness and encourages any alumni who have "vintage" photographs from before 1 981 
to submit them. In 1981, a fire destroyed the Sports Information Office and all of Bullard Hall. 

Thomas continued from page 14 

"We want to move the chains and 
control the clock. We want to be in a 
spread offense, and with the players 
I believe we can attract here, we can 
have a lot of fun. I got a text from one 
of our players at Nicholls, who said, 
'Coach, just throw the ball more up 

"I'm so excited about what we can 
do. The tradition of this Northwestern 
football program is amazing. It has 
happened here in a big way, and the 
administrators and so many of the 
people who are here were here when 
we've had great success before. I've 
seen what this community has to offer, 
and we loved our two years here. We're 
thrilled to be coming back home to 
Louisiana, and especially to Natchi- 
toches and Northwestern." 

As several current Demons watched, 
including All-Southland Conference 
defensive tackle Lesley Deamer, Thom- 
as gave insight into why those players 

and others from his days at Nicholls 
have such great admiration for him 
and have performed so well for him. 

"I respect them, from day one. It's 
all in how you treat the guys. If you 
respect them, you'll get respect back. 
There is a fine line and we all have to 
work at it together. I'm a father and I 
treat these guys like my kids. They're 
all my sons, and that creates a bond," 
he said. 

At the outset of his remarks, Thomas 
took time to acknowledge people 
influential in his life, starting with his 
father, a longtime prep coach at Baker 
High School, and LSU's Jenkins, along 
with Daye and the top administrators 
at Northwestern. 

"There's a long list of people I cer- 
tainly need to thank. At the top of that 
list is Greg Burke. We're very fortu- 
nate to have a man of his caliber and 
talents. I appreciate his patience as I 
made this great decision, and I look 

forward to working with him to build 
our program," he said. "As we sat down, 
we shared the same vision for the De- 
mon football program, which was very 
critical in our decision to leave a good 
place and good friends to come back 
home to Louisiana. 

He also shared his pride in the sup- 
port of his immediate predecessors in 
the Demon head coaching office, Brad- 
ley Dale Peveto (2009-1 2) and Scott 
Stoker (2002-08). 

"The foundation of the program is 
here. I'd like to thank Coach Peveto, 
who has left a good foundation to 
work from. He was one of the first to 
call me last night and congratulate me. 
Also, Coach Stoker called me last night. 
They both care about this university 
and poured their hearts and souls into 
this program, so I'm not walking into 
a rebuilding situation. Knowing I have 
their friendship and support means a 
great deal." 

Alumni Columns 

SPRING 2013 

The Normal 
Fire Brigade 

Motto: Safety First. 

On Nov. 4, 1 920, a meeting of 
the boys of the shack was held to 
organize a fire brigade. A week 
later the brigade had its first drill. 
The purpose of organization was 
to safeguard the lives and protect 
the property of the Louisiana State 
Normal School. The brigade con- 
sisted of a chief, a lieutenant, 16 
privates and a mascot. Member- 
ship in the brigade was considered 
a distinction and its members 
were subject to military discipline. 

On Saturday mornings once a 
month, the brigade drilled and 
instructed for two hours. The 
drills were designed to afford 
the members special knowledge 
and practice in handling the fire 
apparatus and appliances and in 
reaching the point of fire with the 
least confusion and best results. 
The drills were thorough and as 
closely as possible approximated 
actual fire conditions. 

Members were W. Hansler, 
chief; P.S. Chambers, captain; S.A. 
Moncia, lieutenant, and V.L. Roy 
Jr., mascot. Privates were Calvin 
Bordelon, Charles E. Elkins, J.F. 
Gauthier, Adolphe Laborde, C.E. 
LaPrairie, W.A. Lawrence, G.W. Mc- 
Ginty, C.E. Manning, A.B. Millican, 
W.W. Norris, Hezzie Sylvest, F.W. 
Smith, Alphonse Wallet, C.A. Wise, 
J.A. Young and Wiltz Gremillion. 



■ni32;g I 

1 a 

"1 1^ n in T 



SPRING 2013 

Guess Who 

Three senior members of the NSU baseball team 
were picked in the 2002 Major League Baseball 
draft. Can you name them? The first five readers 
to call the Alumni Center at (318) 357-4414 will 
win a prize. 

Answers to Winter 201 2 Guess Who were Univer- 
sity President Joseph Orze and Student Govern- 
ment Association President Tod Klotzbach. 

Winners from the Winter 201 2 issue were: 
James Martin, Jr. of Pearl, Mass. (1 985) 
Susan Hall of Deville, La. (2001 ) 

In Memory 

1934 - Joeline Bakat Robinson, Dec. 5, 2012, Lake Charles 
1934 - Marvin Tanner, Sept. 13, 2012, Evergreen 
1939 - Walter P. Ledet, Dec. 14, 2012, Natchitoches 
1943 - Mary Jean Swift Thomas, Jan. 30, 2013, Natchitoches 
1945 - Colleen Woods Baker, Dec. 1 , 2012, Houston 
1949 - John G. "Red" Robertson Jr., Feb. 6, 2013. Ferriday 

1949 - Bernard Waggoner, Feb. 5, 2013, Logansport 

1950 - Grady F. Howell, Oct. 19, 2012, Denver, Colo. 

1950 - Retta Stnckland Poole, Jan. 8, 2013, Shreveport 

1951 - Patricia Christine Prince, Jan. 31, 2013, Coushatta 
1954 - Dorothy Carnahan Benefield, Jan, 12, 2013, Natchitoches 
1956 - Howard Dean Clark Jr., Jan. 3, 2013, Shreveport 

1957 - Orville Wayne Rigdon, Jan. 28, 2012, Houston, Texas 

1960 - William "Bill" Proctor G'Bannon Jr, Sept. 13, 2012, Natchitoches 

1960 - John Milton Nix, March 25, 2012. Bossier City 

1960 - Margaret Reynolds Steward, Dec. 28, 2012, Baton Rouge 

1965, 1 972 -Yvonne Stephens Tuminello, Jan. 14, 2013, Alexandria 

1972 - James "Jim" Pierson, Dec. 8, 2012, Natchitoches 

1975 - Gary Earl Hall, Apnl 12, 2012, Longview, Texas 

1986 - Richard Turner Johnson Jr., Nov. 27, 2012, Natchitoches 

2010 -Jonathan Douglas Hammons, Jan. 29, 3013, Shreveport 

2011 - Ricky Isaac Jr., Dec. 8, 2012, Natchitoches 

Billy Mack Gearing, Oct. 17, 2012, Mooringsport 

Norm Fletcher, Dec. 14, 2012, Natchitoches 

Alumni Columns 

SPRING 2013 

Northwestern State University 
Alumni Columns 
Natchitoches, LA 71497-0002 

Postage Paid 
Postal Permit 
USPS 015480 

NSU Alumni After Hours Tour 

March 14 (Thursday) 

March 21 (Thursday) 

March 22 (Friday) 

April 6 (Saturday) 

April 13 (Saturday) 

April 18 (Thursday) 

April 19 (Friday 

May 2 (Thursday) 

June 1 (Saturday) 

Lafayette @ Blue Dog Cafe (6 p.m.) 

New Orleans @ ACME Oyster House (6 p.m.) 

Baton Rouge @ Ralph & Kacoo's (6 p.m.) 

Houston @ Ragin Cajun Restaurant (12 noon) 

Natchitoches (a Natchitoches Jazz/R&B Festival 
NSU Alumni Association tent (6 p.m.) 

Shreveport @ Savoie's (6 p.m.) 

Dallas Area @ Ridgecrest Country Club, Piano, TX 
Golf outing (2 p.m.) & Crawfish Boil (6 p.m.) 

Alexandria @ Tunk's Oyster Bar (6 p.m.) 

Featuring Dr. Harry Briggs 2-mile "Swim for CENLA" 

Washington D.C. Crawfish Boil @ Fort Hunt Park (12 noon 
Louisiana College Coalition (LCC) 10"' anniversary event 

Registration & detailed inforn^ation available at